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©Copyright 1993 by the Regents of the University of California

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  • Up-to-date information about California vascular plants is available from the Jepson eFlora.

VIOLACEAE

VIOLET FAMILY

R. John Little

Annual to shrub or vine (generally per in CA)
Leaves basal, cauline, or both, generally alternate, entire to compound; stipules generally small
Inflorescence: head, raceme, panicle, or flowers solitary; peduncle bractlets 2
Flower generally bisexual, generally bilateral; sepals 5, free to slightly fused, generally persistent; petals 5, free, lowest generally spurred or pouched at base; stamens generally 5, alternate petals, filaments short, wide, anthers surrounding ovary, adherent or fused, often with nectaries at base, often with membranous appendage at tip; ovary superior, chamber 1, placentas 3, parietal, ovules generally many, style 1
Fruit: generally capsule, 3-valved, generally explosively dehiscent
Seeds generally appendaged
Genera in family: 15 genera, 600 species: generally temp, worldwide; some cultivated as ornamental; some Eur species medicinally useful as emetics, diuretics, purgatives
Reference: [Brizicky 1961 J Arnold Arbor 42:321–333]

VIOLA

VIOLET

Annual or perennial herb < 35 cm, glabrous to hairy
Leaf entire to compound
Inflorescence: flower generally solitary, axillary
Flower bilateral; sepals subequal, appendaged at base; petals unequal, lowest spurred or pouched at base, lateral 2 equal, generally spreading, often hairy near base, upper 2 equal, erect; lower 2 stamens with nectaries projecting into spur
Fruit: capsule, ovoid to oblong
Etymology: (Latin: ancient name)
Reference: [Clausen 1964 Madroño 17:173–197]
Cleistogamous flowers generally present. Seeds often dispersed by ants that feed on seed-appendages.

Native

V. adunca Sm.

WESTERN DOG VIOLET

Plant 6–30 cm
Stems clustered on thin, much-branched rhizomes, branched, compact, generally elongating late-season, generally hairy
Leaves simple, basal, cauline; petiole 5–70 mm; blade 5–40 mm, round-ovate, generally crenate, ± thickish, glabrous to hairy, base truncate to cordate, tip obtuse
Inflorescence: peduncle < 100 mm
Flower: petals pale to deep violet, lowest (including spur) 8–16 mm, lower 3 white at base, purple-veined, lateral 2 white-bearded, often curved or hooked at tip
Fruit 6–11 mm, glabrous
Chromosomes: n=10
Ecology: Damp banks, meadow edges in forests
Elevation: 6–3500 m.
Bioregional distribution: California Floristic Province (generally mtns)
Distribution outside California: to Alaska, Colorado, e N.America
Synonyms: var. oxyceras (S. Watson) Jeps
Plants in c SNH (Yosemite) with petals white (except inside bases violet-tinged) and spur violet have been called var. kirkii V. Duran
Horticultural information: IRR, DRN: 2, 3, 7, 14, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24 &SUN: 1, 4, 5, 6, 15, 16, 17.

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